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Lies We Tell & Verdigris among Irish Film Festa lineup 2024
28 Mar 2024 : News Desk
Irish Film Festa
The event, now in its 15th edition, offers the public a wide selection of feature film premieres, conversations with filmmakers, and the traditional short-film competition.

The Irish Film Festa, the festival dedicated to Irish cinema and culture returns to Rome’s Casa del Cinema (Villa Borghese) from the 4th to the 7th of April.

"This year, as Irish cinema continues to grow and thanks also to the festival’s increasingly loyal Italian audience – the Irish Film Festa follows several distinctive strands which ensue each other, intertwining and overlapping," said Susanna Pellis, IFF director.

"At least two of these are particularly worthy of note: the presence of documentaries, significantly variegated in theme and tone, though all of the highest quality; the different titles related to literature and the particular attention paid to the writer John McGahern and the film based on his last novel, That They May Face the Rising Sun, starring a magnificent cast and directed by Pat Collins, the most Irish of directors and guest of honour of this year’s edition”.

The documentary selection features five titles: Gerry Gregg's Face Down, about the kidnapping and murder of German businessman Thomas Niedermayer by the IRA in Belfast, during the 70s; Garry Lennon's I Dream in Photos, which explores the life and work of Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Cathal McNaughton; Cara Holmes' Notes from Sheepland, a year spent on Orla Barry’s farm in Wexford, examining how unexpectedly the lines between shepherd and artist can be blurred.

There is also Andrew Gallimore's One Night in Millstreet, about the world championship boxing match between Chris Eubank and his challenger from Cabra, Steve Collins, on St. Patrick’s weekend in 1995; Garry Keane & Andrew McConnell’s In the Shadow of Beirut, a powerful film that captures the reality of life in Beirut’s Sabra and Shatila neighbourhoods and comes from the same filmmakers behind Gaza which streamed for the IFF in 2021.

The IFF literature section focuses on Irish writer John McGahern (1934-2006): That They May Face the Rising Sun, adapted from his final novel, will have its Italian premiere at the festival. The film is directed by master filmmaker Pat Collins and showcases an outstanding ensemble cast: Barry Ward, Anna Bederke, Lalor Roddy, Philip Dolan, Seán McGinley, Brendan Conroy, Ruth McCabe, John Olohan, Declan Conlon.

John McGahern: A Private World, a documentary made by Collins in 2005, will also screen at the festival: a testimony to the director’s skill and sensitivity as both interviewer and filmmaker that he gets the reluctant McGahern to open up on camera.

Lisa Mulcahy’s Lies We Tell, based on the gothic novel Uncle Silas by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, and the short film Shakes Versus Shav, where George Bernard Shaw engages in a war of words with William Shakespeare to decide who is the greater writer, complete this year’s bookish selection.

Two debut feature films in this year's lineup are John Carlin’s Lie of the Land, a claustrophobic thriller set in the outskirts of Ballymena, and Patricia Kelly’s Verdigris, a ‘buddy movie’ about two very different women who form an unlikely bond.

The Irish Classic chosen for this edition, forty years after its Irish release, is Pat Murphy's Anne Devlin, based on the life of the neglected historical figure Anne Devlin, who worked with Robert Emmett in the planning of the Rising of 1803, the film shows Murphy’s interest in exploring women’s histories and alternative models of representation. The film has never been released in Italy.

The festival will also pay tribute to the extraordinary international accomplishments of Cillian Murphy, a native of Cork and a fresh Oscar winner for his performance in Oppenheimer. The actor will be honoured with a special screening of Neil Jordan’s Breakfast on Pluto.

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